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Which Stihl?

Post in 'The Gear' started by GeeWizMan, Sep 16, 2007.

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  1. GeeWizMan

    GeeWizMan Member

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    I would like to buy a small chain saw for limbing and cutting up the smaller stuff that is smaller than 12 inches in diameter. I use a chain saw in the spring, summer and fall on a fairly regular basis. In the spring and fall I will use a chain saw at least every other weekend. In the summer I use a chain saw 2 to 3 days every week.

    I visited the Stihl website and saw that they classify chain saw users as 1) Homeowner 2) Mid Range 3) Pro Arborist and 4) Professional. Given what I said about how often I use a chain saw, where do you think I fit?

    Secondly, I am looking at the MS 170 (12"), the MS 200 (12"), and the MS 260 (16"). Which of these saws would you recommend? Is there a different saw you would recommend?

    Thanks for your help.

    George

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  2. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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    Good question for discussion.

    A good link:
    http://www.stihl.us/

    Of the choices you are looking at... the MS260 with a 16" bar I think will be a good saw for what you want to do with it. At a "hair" over 3cu/in. displacement it is all the saw you are looking for...and if you eventually do more with it than you originally intended (nobody ever does that cutting wood right???)...I think you will be happy with it.

    While a "smaller" saw or "lesser" saw (utilitarian off the shelf from Wally World or the box stores) would probably suit your (and most homeowners' needs) just fine...a "step up" is wise.

    The 260 with a 16" bar range will cover your needs pretty good IMHO...

    I'm a little 'jaded' towards Stihl... but I've used 'Husky' too...If I had only one saw...It would be a Stihl.

    Are you going through "A local dealer"??? Ask if they offer the 260 in the "Quick Stop Line" (something Stihl tried as an added safety measure...and a good idea IMHO). If they have one...you might "Be able to get a deal". ;)
  3. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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    If I had to recommend a saw to someone in your particular situation...

    Either the 260...or:

    A good "starter saw" for someone (depending on what you are looking to spend $ wise):
    http://www.stihldealer.net/productdetails-dealer-011586-prodid-544.aspx

    Check around your area on pricing...and find a local dealer. Go to the dealer (prefferably a 'mom and pop' type of place) that has a wood pile out back. If they are serious about selling you a saw...they shouldn't have a problem letting you try it out...

    Hey...If you are gonna buy a car?? You take it for a test drive right???

    A good saw is no different.

    If you find something you like... post the price... I might be able to find you a deal.
  4. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

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    I'd also look at the Husky 346XP. it's a 10 pound saw and has excellent power and the chain speed to match it.

    My biggest complaints about Stihl is their price and their warranty for the price.
  5. MrGriz

    MrGriz New Member

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    I would also check out Dolmar. It can be a bit tough to find a local dealer, but if there's one close to you it's definitely worth a look. Stihl makes a very good saw, but they also want all the money and then some for it.

    I picked up a Dolmar 5100s and I'm very happy with it. It has a great power to weight ratio and is a pleasure to cut with. I was strongly considering the MS361, but just couldn't justify the money they wanted.
  6. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

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    I think he's looking for a smaller saw Griz, the 5100s is around 13 pounds (with bar & chain) which doesn't really fit the category in this case.
  7. MrGriz

    MrGriz New Member

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    I should have been more clear, I was really suggesting Dolmar in general and not necessarily the 5100. They seem to have really good bang for the buck across their line.

    There's also nothing wrong with the 346XP you suggested, that would make a great choice.
  8. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

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    That I would agree with that. The PS 540 seems about the right size matchup for the Stihl and Husky.
  9. Gibbonboy

    Gibbonboy New Member

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    I originally got a Husky 141 when I bought my house, with the thinking that I would trim a few trees on the lot and be more or less done with the saw, so I didn't want to invest a lot. The 141 seems to have a checkered reputation, I love mine and it still runs perfectly. When I decided to burn wood, I needed a saw with a little more, so I looked and considered a lot of saws. Torn between a large pro saw, and a smaller, high-speed pro saw, I went with the 346XP. Most of the big cats make a saw similar to this, for about the same price. Main selling point for me was the size and weight, which is almost identical to my 141, but with twice the horses and 3 or 4 thousand more RPM's. I love the 346, it's a screamer, I went with a 16" bar on mine, it will go bigger, but I have "Big Bertha" with the 24" bar if I need more. As the saying goes- "If your bar is never too short, it's always too long". The 16" bar does 75% of my bucking fine, some of the big maples I get need the 24" bar, but I only cut 10 or so trunks that size every year.

    I use all kinds of different saws, either cutting firewood, or teaching firefighting classes, and I'd say that as an overall line, I'd go with Husky. Stihl makes some of the best pro saws, hands-down. But their lower-line saws seem to be a bit lacking for the money they want. Dolmar is an excellent saw too, I have friends who have had theirs for many years of hard cutting.

    This is all very confusing sometimes, but generally, if you spend $400 on a saw, it doesn't matter which of the "big boys" saws you buy, they'll all be good. As long as you rise above the cheapie homeowner saws, you'll be ok.
  10. GeeWizMan

    GeeWizMan Member

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    Thanks, I'll check out the Dolmar chain saws.

    George
  11. kd460

    kd460 Feeling the Heat

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    That 260 is a nice "all around saw" in it's class. A 16 inch bar is good for most all around use for the home owner, but, you could always drop it down to say a 14 or a 12". That will really get that chain moving. Stihl has a good reputation, large dealer network so parts and service will be a piece of cake. Not to heavy, but not a toy either. When you consider all the advantages it's a wise choice. KD
  12. Yooper Burning

    Yooper Burning New Member

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    GeeWhiz - I use Stihls at home, and a Husky sometimes at work. I really like the Stihls. If you, as you say, are looking for a saw for trimming and cutting up smaller stuff, my old 021 with a 14" bar is excellent. Actually cut up 7+ cords this year with it. It is now the MS210. About 10lbs, and cuts great as long as the chain is sharp. Never used the 170, 200, or 260 you mention, but I gotta believe all the saws in that range will do what you need for light work. I just bought a MS390 and love it. Proabaly more than you need for your stated purposes, and little heavy for trimming work but not too bad at something like 13 or 14 pounds. The saw just rips compared to the 021 and I'm having fun! :)
  13. GeeWizMan

    GeeWizMan Member

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    Okay, I finally located a Dolmar dealer about 20 miles away and checked out one of their little saws. They let me try one out for a few hours and I fell in love with it and bought it last weekend. I bought the PS-341 for a little over 200 bucks. The thing runs like a top and is so far SAWEEEEET! Of course, I've only used it a few hours and time will tell if it is a good little saw or not but I really like it for limbing and other small stuff. It sure beats carrying around the 14 pound Husqvarna. ;-P

    George
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